35 Simple Italian Appetizers To Get The Party Started

If you’re looking for the perfect appetizer to start off a meal, then look no further than the Italian delicacy that makes the best opener for any type of meal.

But if you’re strictly going Italian, like a pot of pasta or a slice of pizza, everyone will be excited to try these amazingly delicious Italian finger foods.

35 Simple Italian Appetizers To Get The Parted Started

What we love about Italian appetizers is they are full of flavor and this list with a compiled showcase is some of the most incredible options with an abundance of healthy ingredients, such as tomato and basil, as well as parmesan, and protein options for the added meat eater.

1. Caponata

This is an excellent savory dip that will sit wonderfully on top of some crusty bread or some crispy crackers.

There are a myriad of flavors to get lost in with this recipe, and with the inclusion of olives, tomato, and eggplant, your taste buds are going to thank you for serving this up, and also your waistline for keeping it light and friendly.

2. Marinated Mozzarella Balls

This option is not great if you are someone with a highly addictive personality.

But if you are more than willing to forgive yourself, then you should indulge in this delicious appetizer.

These mozzarella balls are marinated in olive oil and garlic, as well as a fresh dose of seasoning.

Only taking around 10 minutes to put together, they’ll be done in no time.

3. Spiedini

For those that don’t know, spiedini is a delicious meat and onion kebab that is breaded and then placed onto a skewer with some extra flavorful onions and current.

As this is a bread-based appetizer, it goes perfectly well with a number of Italian base dishes, but it also stands alone as a portion of great on-the-go food.

4. Spinach Artichoke Dip

Who doesn’t love to indulge in a hot dip? If so, then we recommend you try this spinach artichoke dip that is made using a slow cooker helping to make life that much easier.

Simply throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker, and ensure that when it is completed that you pair it with a loaf of delicious crispy bread.

5. Crostini

Here’s another classic finger that goes superbly well with any meal, and not even just Italian ones! 

It’s a toasted bread that is brushed with olive oil that can be enjoyed before any meal, and what makes this earth feeling is that it is incredibly simple to make or something that looks like it takes a long time to prepare.

6. Pepperoni Stromboli

How would you like to have all of the goodness of a pizza, but nestled into a beautiful small portion?

We recommend that you choose this recipe as you’ll be in for a massive taste extravaganza.

You can even use pre-made pizza dough to make this as simple as possible, and don’t forget to serve with warm marinara to use for dipping.

7. Bruschetta

This is another one of those classic Italian dishes that are tomato based, which is a beautiful salad that is more than welcome as a first course for an Italian meal.

We love the classic Italian flavors such as the fresh basil and tomato, and you can even pair this with some small slices of bread if you want to add an extra layer of taste.

8. Gnocchi Cheese Fondue

Having cheese as a portion of finger food is not only delicious, but it’s a fun way to enjoy a light treat before the main event.

Melted cheese with gnocchi, and mixed with fondue is a superior combination that is guaranteed to make all of your dinner guests smile.

Fondue is welcome at any time of the week so don’t always think it’s just before a meal.

9. Focaccia

A great way to start a meal is to go with a flatbread, and focaccia is a great option that is fully customizable with a number of different herbs and spices to make this as tailored to your taste buds as possible.

If cooked well, you should have a crispy outside and a soft center, with a wonderful loft of freshly baked bread rolling through your house.

10. Cheesy Baked Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini is a wonderfully versatile vegetable and goes well with a lot of recipes, which is the reason why it is often used in Italian cooking.

You can make these cheesy baked zucchini fritters in an air fryer if you want to keep things as simple as possible.

Make sure you have enough, otherwise these will be guaranteed to be gone too quickly.

11. Italian Meatballs

If you have read our articles, you know we are massive fans of Italian meatballs, but we also love them as an appetizer for an Italian occasion.

The spiced meatballs we are featured here are a great option for those that don’t want to miss out on beautifully savory bites, or for those that want to expand their culinary skills when it comes to meatballs.

12. Parmesan Crusted Polenta

Polenta pieces are typically dipped in Italian breadcrumbs and then fried to make them crispy and delicious.

You then place them on a serving tray and top them with some fresh homemade basil pesto.

This recipe is a great option for those that want to have some experimentation with different ingredients.

13. Marinated Mozzarella

In Italian restaurants, you’ll always see a salad dish glistening with some fresh mozzarella, and we don’t think that should be any different when it comes to making it at home.

If you are looking for that top-quality marinated mozzarella recipe, then give this a try, as it will guide you through the best pairing for a salad or Italian experience (see also ‘40+ Fresh Moreish Mozzarella Recipes‘).

14. Tiny Fig Pizzas

These tiny fig pizzas are a lot of fun and are topped with some of the most amazing ingredients for the best flavor.

With the inclusion of dried figs, caramelized onions, and fresh mozzarella, you are guaranteed the full Italian experience, even if it is just for a little bite.

You definitely don’t want to miss out on these.

15. Italian Green Beans

Not every Italian appetizer needs to be bread-based or particularly fattening, but with these Italian green beans, it might be worth going all out to enjoy these wonderfully beautiful vegetables.

As if parmesan cheese didn’t make everything better already, you can top this cheese on top of the green beans for a wonderfully Italian-style dish.

16. Fig, Prosciutto E Gorgonzola

Continuing with the fig theme, we have this awesome Italian appetizer that takes a fig and then adds gorgonzola cheese which is then wrapped in prosciutto.

For a quick option this is the ideal recipe, and make sure you don’t forget the irregular that is tucked under the prosciutto for style and grace.

17. Antipasto Platter

Who would want to enjoy a platter with all of your favorite delicacies that are Italian-inspired?

Try this antipasto platter that is chopped full of some delicious salami, olives, and cheese, for a combination of flavors.

You can enjoy this as an appetizer, but don’t think that this could go down a tree as a light lunch or even something to graze on throughout the day.

18. Marinated Tomatoes

If you go with this option, you’re guaranteed to enjoy these lightly marinated tomatoes that ensure you the healthiest start to any meal.

It’s definitely one of the most elegant appetizers on our list, and you might even find the recipe is so good that you want to use it again and again.

19. Margherita Flatbread

The standout reason we chose this recipe is the fact that it is made using the freshest ingredients.

Nothing beats a homemade flatbread (see also ‘23 Quick And Tasty Flatbread Recipes‘) that rivals even the fanciest of Italian restaurants, and there is so much that you can do with this margherita flatbread.

We recommend you try out some different combinations.

20. Pesto Mozzarella Stuffed Dough Balls

An Italian appetizer list would be complete without some dough balls, and we think we should try these dough balls.

They are beautifully stuffed with mozzarella cheese with a pinch of pesto and brushed with garlic butter and herbs for that classic finish.

Don’t feel you need to go conservative with garlic, as this is where the secret to awesome dough balls lies.

21. Italian Pizza Bites

If you’re a fan of pizza rolls, then get ready to enjoy these awesome pizza bites that are ideal for making at home.

What makes it awesome is how fun and convenient they are, and they aren’t too heavy before for your main course.

Stuff these with your favorite pizza toppings and then finish them with the standard sprinkle of cheese.

22. Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Goat Cheese Bites

If the name doesn’t give you a mouth-watering Sensation then it’s likely nothing good! 

You make this appetizer from stuffed phyllo dough cups which leave a delicious flaky pastry that has one of the most amazing textures (see also ‘Nibbles With Phyllo Cups – Easy Recipes To Start Your Dining Experience‘).

The addition of goat cheese, which is a creamier alternative to regular cheese, is made even better with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.

23. Eggplant Parmesan Poppers

If you’re going to be serving up an energetic party vibe, then any popper recipe is going to be ideal for this occasion.

Eggplant parmesan poppers are the party food of Italy, and they make the perfect cheesy appetizers that will be gobbled up in a matter of minutes.

As long as you can get in there quickly, you’ll be able to enjoy this guilt-free!

24. Burrata Crostini With Tomato Jam Pesto

Burrata is a cheese that is not as well known as other options, but it’s a mild and creamy cheese that is wrapped in mozzarella.

In other words, if you love your cheese then this will not disappoint you. It’s probably one of the most simple appetizers on a list, but its flavor is probably one of the best.

25. Italian Tomato Salad

Tomatoes are one of those foods that seem to go well at any time of the year, but if you’re looking for an appetizer in August or September, there isn’t a better time to go for this Italian tomato salad.

You can serve these at your next dinner events, or even take them along to a family picnic to help cool off in the late summer weather.

26. Hot Caprese Dip

Take a dive into making this dip, by adding some cheese, herbs, and diced tomatoes, and you’ve got yourself a hot caprese dip.

The only question you will have by the end of making this recipe is whether to serve it with toasted bread or chips.

Put this appetizer together way before your event is about to start, and simply place it in the oven when you are ready.

27. Tuscan Truffles

Tuscan truffles are a solid option for including a versatile selection of cheese, and for the fans of goat cheese, parmesan, and mascarpone, you can finally end the wait for the cheesiest appetizer.

This savory truffle is incredibly satisfying and it will be perfect for all ages.

28. Italian Deviled Eggs

We’ve included this amazing deviled egg recipe that is packed with fresh basil, lemon parmesan panko, and a picture of garlic for a truly unique Italian flavor.

But you don’t have to necessarily service for an Italian-inspired event, as these are a great option for taking on a classic American picnic or serving at a festive time of the year.

29. Chicken Florentine Flatbread

For the lovers of flatbread, this is a superb option, and even better for those that love a bit of protein with their appetizer.

It’s a great recipe that will add a juicy chicken to a soft and Buttery crust, and you might even skip the main meal because it is so delicious.

Make sure to cut this up into generous pieces so everyone can get in on the action.

30. Pesto Pinwheel Roll Ups

We know that some of our audience loves to put on a show, and for making that truly awesome presentation, we recommend these pesto pinwheels.

They are tortillas that have cream cheese and mozzarella, packed with other goodies, and cut into small round pieces.

It’s the perfect finger food for a formal event or gathering.

31. Caprese Skewers

Caprese salad is a popular side dish, and we love to give this a twist by taking it on the go as a skewer.

It has the bonus of being convenient, and still tasting delicious with this unique combination of ingredients.

You might even skip the salads altogether and stick with these for the foreseeable future.

32. Strawberry Balsamic Crostini

Why should fruit be reserved as a snack or dessert food, when it can be included as a delicious appetizer?

These strawberry balsamic crostinis are perfectly toasted bread but combined with fresh basil and sliced strawberries.

Make sure to reserve these for the summer months when they are most ripe and most refreshing.

33. Marinated Olives

We love deliciously marinated food, and what couldn’t be more Italian than marinated olives that are seasoned with traditional Italian spices?

They are not only delicious but they are super healthy, and a great alternative to serving up carbohydrates for those that are looking to manage their total intake.

34. Mini Chicken Parmesan Lasagne Rolls

These mini chicken parmesan lasagna rolls are the perfect appetizer that looks delicious and even better to taste.

It has a classic Italian flavor and the addition of chicken gives it even more warmth and happiness.

You can even add some lasagna noodles to this and top it was some spicy marinara and a pinch of mozzarella to finish.

35. Spaghetti Fritters

What is the perfect option for when you have leftover spaghetti and want something interesting to make them into (see also ‘19 Delicious Ways To Use Leftover Spaghetti‘)?

The result is delicious finger food that will save you the mess of the real dish, and we’ll make the perfect appetizers for an easy weeknight dinner where all you want is comfort food. 

Final Thoughts

Whilst this list provides you with some of the best starters available, we won’t tell anyone if you want to use these Italian appetizers anytime.

There’s nothing to say they have to be strictly eating before dinner, and in fact, many of these recipes make for an awesome dinner or lunch.

They are so versatile and yummy, that you can have these anytime of the week and feel good about the decision to have them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Mac And Cheese An Italian Appetizer?

Mac and cheese is not an Italian dish and has nothing to do with Italian cuisine.

However, nothing is stopping you from using mac and cheese as an appetizer if you’re looking to include foods that come from a diverse range of cultures.

How Many Appetizers Should I Serve?

This will depend on how many guests you are having, as well as how large the main meal is going to be.

If you are going to be serving only a few people, you may want to stick with only one to 2 appetizers, whereas if you are serving over 10 guests, you should probably increase this amount to cater to everyone’s tastes and requirements.

35 Simple Italian Appetizers To Get The Parted Started

35 Simple Italian Appetizers To Get The Parted Started

Recipe by Jenna

Are you looking for the next big hit at your upcoming event? These 35 Italian appetizers are simple to make and are guaranteed to get the party started.

Course: Appetizers
5 from 1 vote
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